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Thirty-three soldiers become U.S. citizens
Troops of all ages, ranks from 19 countries
Spc. Veasna Hover from Cambodia
Spc. Veasna Hover from Cambodia gets a kiss after the ceremony. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
On Saturday, 33 3rd Infantry Division soldiers were sworn in as U. S. citizens.
The group of men and women, ranging in age and rank, took the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in Fort Stewart’s Marne Garden.
Post officials said the swearing in was significant because, for a second time, the naturalized soldiers raised their right hands and pledged to be loyal to the country they already serve.
“These soldiers have already taken an oath to defend the U.S. They have served loyally and faithfully, putting themselves into harm’s way for our nation. Today, as they take the citizenship oath, they are reaffirming what is already a truth that resides in each one of these soldiers, that they are devoted to the ideals of the United States,” Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said.
The last naturalization ceremony held at Fort Stewart was in October 2008.  
The crowd that gathered for the ceremony was the biggest the post had seen  since nearly 80 3rd ID soldiers were sworn in as Americans in 2005.
Pvt. Cherie Johnson, 24, was one of the soldiers who received a certificate of U.S. citizenship.  
Originally from Jamaica, Johnson said finally becoming a U.S. citizen “feels like a dream come true.”
“When I was a child, I only dreamed of becoming two things, one was a policeman and the other was a U.S. soldier,” she said. “I feel like it is an honor and a privilege to now be an American.
“It feels great.”
The soldiers sworn in Saturday represented 19 different countries and one U.S. territory, including countries such as Brazil, Mozambique, Sweden, Cambodia, Malaysia, Germany and Ghana.
Larson said the diversity comes as no surprise.
“These soldiers also represent what’s great about our Army.  Much like our nation, we are a melting pot of diversity,” Larson said. “Each one of these soldiers brings something special to the fight. At the end of the day, though, where you come from doesn’t so much matter because we all are Army green and Army strong.”
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